Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Zero tolerance watch 

An example of the "zero tolerance" policy reflecting zero intelligence, and, more importantly, violating our most cherished principles.

Arvada Police are defending the way they handled the arrest of an 11-year-old boy. The Arvada boy was arrested and hauled away in handcuffs from his home for drawing stick figures in school – something his therapist told him to do.

How can anybody ever be arrested for making art in this country? Why isn't this a black-and-white violation of the First Amendment?

We have lost our minds.


By Anonymous Jeff in Arizona, at Wed Feb 23, 09:56:00 AM:

Well, the Kid DID write "Teacher Must Die" on the paper containing the stick figures. And given it is in the Columbine school system, one can understand a rapid and serious response.

Having said that, arresting the 11 year old and holding him in a psych ward for three days 100 miles from his home does seem a tad execessive.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Feb 23, 11:06:00 AM:

Reality Check #1: That kid wasn't even born in 1999, when the massacre occurred.

#1.5: How long will that serve as an excuse to treat school children like prisoners?

#2: It was a fucking stick figure drawing, made at the urging of a doctor. I and countless other kids have done the same or similar things, without such an excuse (i.e. just for giggles). Anyone who seriously tries to compare that to physically bringing a gun into school and killing people is a lunatic.

#3: He was in the act of *throwing it away.* It wasn't presented or left as some sort of threat. It was a perfectly reasonable way (more reasonable than I'd have done, I'm sure) of quietly channeling his anger. And he was punished for it. That's not only absurd, it leads into my next point, that...

#4: Treating him like this has given him cause to ACTUALLY commit violence in the future. Unjust humiliation has a way of leaving a long and bitter aftertaste, after others have forgotten.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 23, 11:47:00 AM:

Denver area guy here. Jeff is correct in the sense that Columbine still weighs heavy on the mind of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. However, this was the Arvada Police Department, not Jeffco Sheriffs, that arrested the boy. I'm as pro-cop as they come, but it is undeniable that Arvada Police have a history of heavy-handed dealing with the public. Even my friends who are cops will tell me to watch out for the Arvada force.

Colorado is becoming a lunatic asylum. We arrest and detain eleven year old kids but repeatedly catch and release illegal immigrants when caught driving without a license.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 23, 11:55:00 AM:

I'm lost on the basis for the police action here. Are the cops arguing this was sort of a "pre-crime" arrest, which is spooky as hell if that's their argument, or are they asserting an actual crime occurred? If so, what crime?

Women confronted with violent domestic abuse, even life threatening abuse, frequently argue that police won't act to protect protect them even in the face of actual real live histories of violence from their antagonists. Police respond by saying that there isn't a basis in law to take any action until an actual crime is committed.

Given that, how can a teacher (and I presume it was the teacher who filed the police complaint that led to the arrest) get this sort of reaction from the police over an 11 year old kid with no history of violence expressing himself via art therapy?

This is nuts.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 23, 01:45:00 PM:

> How can anybody ever be arrested
> for making art in this country?

Heh, there was a Monty Pythonesque Swedish movie about the life of Picasso called "The Adventures of Picasso". The movie "went" through Picasso life and also through the 20th century. They took, how to say, a bit of artistic freedom in interpreting events. And guess what? The alcohol prohibition became art prohibition. There were scenes cops arresting art smugglers and destroying greek sculptures while trophy-photographing themselves. The prosecutor in his speech in front of the jury (made up of smugglers and gangsters) said something along the lines "this fuckin' foreigner is coming here with his trash to infect our beautiful American mind with his fuckin' art".

Should we say that the movie was prophetic?


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 23, 01:56:00 PM:

Wait a minute! I said I couldn't understand the basis for police action, but (via Legal Insurrection) the idea is starting to dawn in me as to the basis. It's authorized under the Commerce Clause to our federal Constitution. Yes, the Commerce Clause, and Judge Gladys Kessler explains why:

"As previous Commerce Clause cases have all involved physical activity, as opposed to mental activity, i.e. decision-making, there is little judicial guidance on whether the latter falls within Congress’s power…. However, this Court finds the distinction, which Plaintiffs rely on heavily, to be of little significance."

In other words, merely thinking about something makes you personally liable for the thought, just as if it were an actual action.

The Federal courts, since she's merely one of three judges to lately espouse this sort of "reasoning", are calling out the citizenry on their thoughts.

This kid is guilty as hell!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 23, 04:16:00 PM:

Following TH's link to Powerline on another thread, I find this excellent post on thought crimes, to which I refer you. Again, this kid is guilty as hell: Jail him.  

By Blogger randian, at Wed Feb 23, 08:23:00 PM:

Pre-crime arrest? How outmoded. Women have the right of pre-crime execution. If you think a man might do something to you in the future, don't run away, shoot him while he sleeps.  

By Anonymous Boludo Tejano, at Wed Feb 23, 09:32:00 PM:

Which reminds me of the old schoolyard song, found in many versions:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the burning of the school
We have tortured every teacher
We have broken every rule
We have shot the secretary and we hung the principal
Our truth keeps marching on!

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah,
Teacher hit me with a ruler
I bopped her on the bean
with a rotten tangerine
And I haven’t seen the old goat since

How many of us could have been jailed for singing that song?  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Wed Feb 23, 09:32:00 PM:

Time is obviously heavy on the hands of the Arvada police dept if they are busy arresting 5th graders for drawing pictures.

Sounds like they are overstaffed and the force should be pared back to save the taxpayers some money.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Wed Feb 23, 09:39:00 PM:

Well, it's a clear overreaction, but many sheriff's departments have policies that everyone gets transported in cuffs. Helpless grannies or five-year-olds are sometimes brought to my hospital in cuffs because they won't change the policy. Barbaric, but that would be a separate problem from the one here.

Boys draw violent things all the time. Adding the words Teacher Must Die is a bit different from the shooting stick figure in and of itself. I don't know how much weight to put on that, but such direct statements are less typical than the usual boy-stuff of jets strafing or writing sentences about "a boy who went home and found dead bodies."  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Thu Feb 24, 12:55:00 AM:

Drawing stick figures? The horror! Glad the police department nipped this in the bud before the lad became a Cartoonist .

By Anonymous Nina, at Thu Feb 24, 08:09:00 AM:

I live in Denver as well. A few things come to mind as I read the news report over at NRO and comments:

1. The news report is actually pretty sketchy
2. When the call came into the PD - what was said on the call?
3. All police officers have to treat every situation as a possible threat until evidence/information shows otherwise - think of traffic stops and officers who've lost their lives on seemingly innocuous traffic stops
4. Was it just that ONE drawing? Or was there more?
5. The parents are telling news media that their child has been under care and treatment, and telling their side of the dealings with the police - but how forthcoming were those parents with the school system? The school system was 'aware' that the child was in treatment. What was the level of awareness based on the info provided by parents/doctor?
6. The principal determined child wasn't a threat and sent him back to class . . .
Which leads me to final question.

Who called the police?

I'm not defending the school, the police, or the parents . . .its just that there is, I believe, more to the story that what we've read here.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 24, 10:02:00 AM:


My understanding is that one or more teachers called the police. He drew the pictures last October. The teacher caught him and sent him to the principal's office, who sent him back to class.

Reading between the lines, it looks like the school's administrators punted on this one and the teacher went over their heads to the police. Good for the teacher.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Feb 24, 10:31:00 AM:

"Reading between the lines, it looks like the school's administrators punted on this one and the teacher went over their heads to the police. Good for the teacher."


By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu Feb 24, 10:33:00 AM:


So, ya gonna punt? Or are you gonna cowboy up and call the police?

Yeah, I thought so. Good for you.  

By Anonymous Anon Y. Mous, at Thu Feb 24, 12:15:00 PM:

How can anybody ever be arrested for making art in this country? Why isn't this a black-and-white violation of the First Amendment?

Let's say that I want to build a new garage on my property, but because of the layout, I will be forced to locate it closer to the lot line than regulations allow. So, I will need a variance. Further, I have been told that as long as my neighbor has no objections, I will get the variance, but if he objects, forget it.

He objects.

After efforts to persuade him fail, I get frustrated and tell him that if he doesn't stop interfering with my plans, I will kill his child.

Clearly, this would be illegal, and the first amendment would not protect my attempt to extort my neighbor.

But, what if I get cute instead? Instead of verbally making my threat, I send him a realistic drawing of his child with a gun to his head. I caption the drawing, "Keep it up, and see what happens."

If it can be established that I sent the drawing, and if a jury can be convinced of my intent, I will still be an extortionist.

If the art is actually a threat of violence, it is a crime, unprotected my the first amendment.

Whether or not the boy in question was actually making a threat is the crux of the issue. If not, as I suspect, then this was an overreaction. But, I never met the boy, so I could be mistaken about what was really going on there.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Feb 24, 02:24:00 PM:

That's just a ridiculous hypothetical having no relation to the story at hand and, by the way, since when is threatening someone a crime? (and, how is this kid even making a threat?)  

By Blogger 1389, at Sun Feb 27, 11:58:00 PM:

No wonder more and more parents are homeschooling these days.

More power to them!  

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